How To Reclaim A LOST Loved One?!
- By Dr. Chris Gnanakan
- Published 10/20/2009
Dr. Chris Gnanakan
Revd. Dr. Chris Gnanakan, DMin, PhD. is the Director of Training for Outreach To Asia Nationals. OTAN serves in over nine countries in Asia where traditional missions is ‘restricted’, by equipping and empowering national, pastoral leaders to fulfil the great commission.
Chris, a native of Bangalore, worked as an electrician in MICO factory for 3 years before theological studies at the Word of Life Bible Institute and School of Youth Mission (New York). He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Temple University and went on to do a Master’s in Divinity at Temple Baptist Seminary that he completed at the Asia Graduate School of Theology.
Chris was a youth pastor and ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church. In 1990 he founded Banaswadi Bible Church where he was the pastor-teacher for over 10 years. He is known as a Youth, Bible & Mission conference speaker and for his radio broadcast with FEBA (Transforming Truth) and TWR (Thru the Bible). His passion is for evangelism, whole-life discipleship, mentoring, training leaders & empowering the Church in Mission.
Chris lectures on and produces curriculum for ‘Biblical Mandate for Evangelism’ at the Haggai Institute for Leadership Development (since 1999 at Maui & Singapore). As an evangelical, he has served as a consultant with the Commission on World Mission & Evangelism on-site London, Switzerland, Athens, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Chile and with Urban Missions in Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines and China.
During his stay and PhD research in the UK, Chris was a Teaching Assistance at the University of Leeds in the department of Theology & Religious Studies and also served as a minister at the South Parade Baptist Church, where he developed outreach & care cells. Chris teaches ‘Clinical Pastoral Education’ at the Bangalore Baptist Hospital. He is chairman for the Christian Forum for Child Development & Samaritan Purse’s regional Prescription for Hope program
Since 1995, Chris joined SAIACS as Professor and HoD of Pastoral Theology & Counseling and Dean of Chapel. Here, for 13 years, he trained leaders for ministry and mission in India’s globalising context and is passionate doing ”Evangelism through Local Churches”. He is now appointed to serve as the Director of Training for OTAN (Outreach To Asia Nationals) from June 2009.
Chris is happily married to Dorothy, an IT software educator, and they have two daughters Alethea and Charis. Chris enjoys memorising poems on the Bible and football.
I am surprised how few know what ‘prodigal’ means! No, it is not about a dirty, rotten, scoundrel who is altogether ‘wicked’ but rather refers to a reckless person who is extravagant or ‘wasteful’. Observe the responses to the ‘prodigal’s return’ by the compassionate Father, then the judgmental brother. We still have our ‘prodigals’who were once part of our fellowship or the ‘house of the Lord’ but have gone wayward and are ‘lost’. I’d like to consider the Father’s response as the way God desires to work in and through us to reclaim such a loved one. This will certainly entail developing a heart of compassion! Studying the ways of the Father’s heart and his actions can inform and inspire us in this direction
NB: (1) the Father’s love was willing to let go of the young man adamant to exercise his own freewill, yet it was a love that tarried or waited with longsuffering (2) The Father was not distant or indifferent but demonstrated com-passion literally he ‘suffered with’ this young man. Whatever the answer is to ‘why suffering’, Christianity starts with a theodicy that factors in a God who himself [in Christ] suffers with/for humans (3) The Father never gave up on the son or held his past against him. His compassion was marked by deep burden, anticipation, prayer and preparation for his boy’s return (4) He was more than ready to receive the errant son, convinced he had suffered enough in the world for his delinquent ways (5) Touching is the father’s unrestrained public expression of emotions as he embraces, literally envelops him and floods him with kisses! I am convinced, this boy always knew his father’s nature and I know, if we have this same nature (2Pet.1:4) many a ‘prodigal’ in our families will be back home!
This dear son once lost, now found, demanded a grander reception & celebration than the case of a dumb sheep or dead coin. Before the party, note what the Father symbolically supplies for this boy’s ‘homecoming’: (a) a gold Ring indicating a royal relationship, sense of belonging and authority [signet] in the house. (b) a Robe, of righteousness, that special garment reserved for an exclusive guest of honor (c) Shoes for his feet, slaves didn’t wear, yet implying responsibility and service go hand in glove with household privileges (d) a fattened Calf of rejoicing prepared for this momentous, festive occasion. The badge of all true followers of Christ is that we are forgiving and no matter what, seek to love others as we have been loved! May God give us his compassionate heart to win the lost at any cost!
Dr. Chris Gnanakan